Sunday, August 17, 2014

What Would You Say?

Over the last week we have all been talking about Robin Williams.  What a wonderful actor with a tragic end.  He brought laughter to multitudes, but all the while he was in pain.  It started me thinking...what if we had the chance to tell him how much he moved us?  What if we told him that just his smile made our hearts a little lighter?  What if...what if...what if.

Why do we wait until someone has passed away to realize how special they are to us?  We go to their funerals & talk about what great people they were; how much they are going to be missed; how we're praying for their family; but neglect them while they are living.  Why do I not call, text or email to let them know now?  Why don't I call them up to meet for lunch?  Is it life that gets in the way?  Am I just a selfish lazy person?  Am I too proud?

If you knew someone was hurting, to the point of wanting to commit suicide, what would you say to them?  Would you offer a few comments to temporarily ease their pain and walk away, or would you stand beside them?  I know what I should do, but would I fail in the follow through?  So many questions and so few answers.

I've seen the little Facebook posters that say that you never know who is hurting that you might come in contact with.  How true.  We never 'see' the people who feel friendless, unloved and alone.  The ones who struggle with inner thoughts of worthlessness.  They hide it well don't they.  And when they choose to end their life, we are shocked that we didn't see it coming.  Maybe we are trying to see with the wrong part of our bodies.  Just a thought.

I am thankful for Robin Williams.  He always made me laugh, and few times made me cry.  He was truly one of a kind.  I hope he found the peace he was so looking for.  All I know is that there is a little less laughter in the world since his passing.

Remembering to love a little more,
~ashley          

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Oh My Goodness, It Worked

Well, I do believe you could have blown me down with a feather.  Something I have been trying to train the children to do for a week seems to have taken hold.

The one thing I really dislike about summer and the children being home is all the cups we go through.  It's not 1 or 2 cups per person it's more like 4.  If my children were toddlers or young children, I might be able to handle it, but the youngest is 12 for the love of Pete.  Rinse, reuse, recycle.  Well, not the recycling part, but you get my meaning.  I was sick and tired of the dishwasher, sink and counter being full of cups.  And not only that, they would leave said cups filled half full with milk, water or maybe Gatorade.  Yuck!


Well, on Pinterest, (I know, you're shocked!)  I found a great way to relieve the great cup pileup of 2014.  It's a reusable cup bar.  It's easy, it's fun, it's fashionable, and you just might want one if you have tons of kids who use tons of cups like my kiddos did.

I found all my supplies at Michael's & it took me all of 10 minutes to assemble them & draw on them.  I used burlap covered canvas frames, slate coasters, hot glue and chalk.  Like I said, it's easy!  Obviously, I hot glued the slate coasters onto the burlap & wrote one person's name per slate.  Since Hoppy is in college, his spot will be empty most of the year, but I couldn't not include him.  :(  Hopson probably won't ever use it, but I needed it to be balanced, so he has one anyway.  :)  This morning when I came home from running carpool, the cup bar looked like the picture on the right!!!  I think I need to do my happy dance.

I'm gonna go ahead & put this into the win column.  WooHoo!!!

Celebrating life & the little things like rinsed & reused cups,
~ashley

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

His First of the Last


Harry's first day of 12th grade.
Harry, Harry, Harry.  :)  My sweet Harry is now a senior.  How did that happen?  How did my active, funny, athletic little Buddha baby grow up to this great young man?  Harry is kind, a hard worker and has never met a stranger.  He's just as comfortable around adults as he is around people his own age.  He has a twinkle in his clear blue eyes that lets you know he is a little precocious.

Harry can do anything he sets his mind to.  If you tell him he can't do something, he'll work his fanny off to prove you wrong.  Of all our four, he was the first to ride his bike.  He barely had to try.  He just watched his brother & hopped on his bike & about 10 minutes later was zooming around.  He wanted to keep up with Hop, so he did what he had to do.  Harry is a graceful diver & lacrosse player.  I love it watch him play.  Harry can be hardheaded & I think he got it from Hopson's side of the fam.  ;)  (I am so kidding here!  I know exactly where he gets it from...he gets it from both sides)

One of my favorite things about Harry is his laugh.  His whole face lights up & you just want to laugh along with him.  He's just a great kid, and I'm proud of the young man he has become.

So Harry, as you begin your senior year, I hope it's a year of wonderful lasts that you never forget!  I love you very much & can't wait to see all that God has in store for you.  I think you rock!

Celebrating life & a great year of lasts for my sweet Harry!
~ashley  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hot Crazy Mess

This weekend my younger two children are participating in a youth Discovery weekend at a church close to our home.  We have lots of friends that go there, so E & Henry will have a great time.  Harry is fishing with his grandfather & a friend, and Hop is still working.  Hopson & I should be childless for the weekend...but we're not.  We volunteered to keep seven 9th grade boys.  Most of whom we know & love.  Boys are easy.  Throw some food at them; let them run around & then unwind with shooting pool or watching tv & they're good.  I could do seven 9th grade girls, but I think the boys are easier.  Since we have three boys, we kinda know what to do a little better.  Plus, Elizabeth is not your typical girl.  She is very low maintenance thanks to her brothers, and that has spoiled us terribly.

This morning while we were waiting for all the boys to finish showering & come down to eat breakfast, Hopson showed me a hilarious video. (well, I thought it was hilarious, anyway)  It is a guy showing how to graph women based on their hotness vs. craziness.  It's not a dirty video, but it is not for young children.  If you have an older high school son/daughter & above, they would be fine watching it, but not middle school.
At the end of the video he also talks about trying to find the perfect guy & what women look for.  The graph for guys of course is much simpler, but the concept is somewhat similar.

If you want a great laugh this Saturday, you will want to watch the video.  Click HERE to see it.  Remember that it is meant to be funny & not personal, unless you are one of the crazy ones.  Just kidding.  It's all in good fun.  And, let's admit it girls, there are those out there that make us all look a little crazy.  :/

Celebrating Life & Enjoying the Laughs!
~ashley

PS~Yesterday was Hop's 20th birthday...how can I be old enough to have a 20 year old???  Happy birthday Hop!  Love you bunches!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

From Their First Kiss

Celebrating 50!
The three brothers:
Hopson, John & Will
My in-laws, Peggy & Walter, have been married 50 years.  You know, that is an accomplishment.  It's actually hard to believe it's their golden anniversary, because they don't act like they are old enough to be married that long.  They don't behave act like they are senior citizens & every once in a while you see that little twinkle that has helped them be so spry.

Fun with cousins
For their anniversary, the family headed up to the beautiful mountains of Jonas Ridge, North Carolina.  Peggy grew up in Morganton about 30 minutes away, and it has been a favorite spot of theirs for a long time.  It is lush, green and the temperature was wonderful for the middle of July.  We had an adventurous time visiting with family we don't see very often.  It's just fun to see fam you don't get to see very often.  We went hiking.  The children went down a rock slide, swam in freezing cold water, and swung from a rope swing.  They shot bb guns, and luckily no one put an eye out.

Walter asked a few people in the spring what he should get for Peggy for her anniversary present.  What do you get someone you have known for over 50 years?  Is there anything super special that would move that person?  Sometimes material things seem so fleeting.  He received several suggestions.  I'm know all of them were good, but I'm a little partial with what he decided to give her.  We were talking about gifts & I tried to think of something only he could give her.  After a lot of thinking, I thought of a love letter.

He is the only one who can and should write her one.  We talked after he had written the letter & he decided to have it written in golden ink calligraphy & framed.  When I saw the finished product it made me so happy.  The words and how it looked are beautiful.  He decided to read it to everyone & I don't think there was a dry eye in the house.  As he was reading, I started to think about the legacy they are setting for the family.  It is a legacy of love.  I know that is the kind of legacy I want to leave.  Peggy & Walter have been my parents longer than my own parents were, and they have loved me as a daughter, never as a daughter-in-law, or outlaw.  ;)  Legacy of love.  We asked Walter when he knew he wanted to marry Peggy & he said that after their kiss at Moon Lake, Mississippi he knew he wanted to marry her.  :)  I think he said it was their first kiss.  When then turned the question around on Peggy to see when she knew she would marry Walter, her answer made us laugh.  She said it was not the night of their first kiss.  They told us many funny stories & we videoed all of them, and had many laughs.  It's good for a family to share laughter & love.

So, Peggy & Walter, Happy Golden Anniversary!  May you have many happy returns & increase your legacy of love each  year.  Much love to you both!

Celebrating Life & 50 years of love,
~ashley

PS~ a special thank you to Elizabeth for letting me use her pictures, these are just a few of her great ones.  :)


















Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Just Consider Me High Risk

Every time & I mean every time we go visit my brother in Tampa we engage in high risk behaviors.  He for sure wants us to step out of our comfort zone.  I'm boring and safe.  If you don't believe me, just ask my children.  But, when I'm with my brother, risks abound.  :)

In the past, we have:

  • Canoed with alligators.  I was scared to death especially when one swam under our canoe & bumped the boat.  I may or may not have squealed like a little girl.  It was scary.  Um, have you seen me?  I would be a tasty snack.  I think of a juicy steak that is marbleized in all the right places.  :/   
  • Had trapeze lessons.  Swinging on a trapeze is a lot harder than it looks.  Arms and core are used a bunch.  The trapeze artists (and they are artists) make it look so easy.  They are incredibly strong, very nice and have to wear incredibly tight belts.  I mean, they squeeze the air out of you, but it was so worth it.

This year's high risk behavior was hang gliding.  We went to a place called QuestAir in Groveland, Florida.  It's about an hour from Tampa.  I want to thank first: my brother & sister-in-law, Cotton & Leah, for coming up with this crazy idea and second: Mark, Spinner & Kim for a great time.  Mark was our tow pilot; Spinner was our instructor and tandem pilot; and Kim who made sure we were all strapped in correctly, set the GoPro camera & was encouraging and bubbly the whole time.  They could not have been sweeter!  Especially when we were signing our life away.  Just kidding, we only had a few papers to fill out.

Because I'm the mom, I like to go last.  I like to make sure all my little chicks are back safely before I go to try something risky.  When we go snow skiing I'm the last one down the mountain.  How can I help them if I'm at the bottom (or in this case on the ground) and they are at the top.  Cotton talked me into going second to last.  Believe it or not, I was not nervous or scared.  I was excited.  I was going to get a great indication of what it felt like to fly.  How many times have I wanted to soar like an eagle?  More than once.

So I get in the body bag thingie, and get the talk that Spinner gives before take-off.  It was the 6th time I had heard it, so I probably could have given it to him.  We were pulled to 3600 feet.  Can I tell you that Tampa is hot.  Not just hot, but very humid.  At 3600 feet it is so nice and cool and no humidity.  It's quiet and beautiful, but not that calm.  For 3/4 of the trip I was great.  You could see 40 miles away.  Beautiful.  But then, the cool air went away & I was hit hard with the heat & we were kinda circling, and I thought I was going to barf.  On the video my family laughed because they could tell that from my face that I was not feeling well.  Yeah, I was just trying to not barf on Spinner's head.  How gross would that be?  They told us funny stories about people who did throw up midair.  Yuck.

The only real disappointment I had was that I didn't get to see a phenomenon called Pilot's Glory.  You see it when you pass over clouds.  You look down into the clouds & will see your shadow inside a rainbow ring.  My sister saw 2 & Elizabeth saw one.  Just a little jealous, but it's ok.  I guess that means I'll have to try it again...maybe.  

If  you ever get the chance, try a tandem glide.  It really is a fun and beautiful high risk activity. :)

Celebrating Life!
~ashley
Harry



Elizabeth

Henry






Thursday, June 26, 2014

And Everybody Said

Photo creds to andrewcorbett.net
AMEN!  Well, something happened today that I never thought would.  But before I tell you what child #1 did, let me preface it with the next paragraph.  Don't skip it, especially if your a momma.

You know all the years you spend training your children.  Say yes'mam and no'mam; say please and thank you; put your napkin in your lap; chew with your mouth closed; hold the door open for ladies to enter before you do; hold the door open for the people coming behind you; look people in the eye when speaking to them; speak clearly; give a good firm handshake because no one likes a dead fish grip; excellence in everything...and the list goes on, and on and on.  I'm wondering if the reminders never end, because even when they become young adults (and maybe sometimes middle aged adults) a momma never stops wanting her children to have good manners and act like a normal human being.

I witnessed a miracle today!  Hop actually said thank you to Hopson and me for teaching him manners.  (We have to thank Betty Moss also!  She teaches a manners class for children when they get into the 8th grade & she is incredible!!!)  Yes, he really did say it, and the child is only 19!  We were on our way to watch the local minor league baseball game & I about drove off the road. And yes, it did make me smile. Manners matter & a first impression is always the most important.  He said that he never appreciated all that we had taught him until he had to work with people who were not taught any better, and had no desire to change.

Can I tell you how thankful I am?  Can I tell you that for one child to understand that is HUGE!  And that he 'got it' before his 20th birthday.  I know technically we're batting 25%, which is not great, but hopefully the other three will understand it before they turn 20 as well. I'm pretty competitive so I need to be at 100% and nothing less will do.  :)  I think I need to do the dance. (remember the dance from Evan Almighty?)

Well, it's waaay past my bedtime, but I just wanted to share this victory with y'all, because I'm truly on cloud nine right now!!!

Celebrating the little things in life!
~ashley